Do We Feel It?

Note: You haven’t heard from me for awhile. I’ve been taking an essay writing class and that has kept me busy. Here is one of my best, written the week of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting:

Life is precious. Or is it?

Each life counts. Each life is significant. So we say.

One day this week I caught Steve Inskeep’s opinion piece on NPR as I drove home from a doctor’s appointment. The school shooting in Florida caused him to think about people who have to develop a relationship with death … nurses, soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, war correspondents. His voice sounded incredulous as he expressed disbelief that teachers and students are now among them. He noted that after Sandy Hook, many officials proclaimed, “It will never happen again.”

Inskeep observed that we are all becoming accustomed to the carnage. “We have to bear it because politicians and presidents have agreed on no effective solution to mass shootings.”

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America. 

Inskeep went on: If we cease to feel the effects, we risk our mental health, our moral health, our souls.

He ended with these haunting words, “Do we still feel it?”

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


A PBS report on the nightly news this week finds that the gap between white and black home ownership in the USA is wider now than it was in 1960. In some cities, black and Latino home buyers have a harder time getting mortgages. The newscast featured a story of a financially responsible black woman with a good job who missed paying one electric bill on time. Two banks used this as an excuse to turn her down … even when her mother, retired with a generous pension, agreed to co-sign. They used her mother’s student loan debt as their reason.

Suspecting their refusal had something to do with the color of her skin, this potential home buyer asked her half-white, half-Japanese girlfriend to buy the house with her. Her friend didn’t make enough money to pay her bills, had to borrow money from her sister to pay for health insurance, and could not give the required two years proof of a stable work history. Despite the terrible state of her finances, one of the previously denying banks approved the loan.

Do we feel it?

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door! 


From the comfort of my home, I watch television and most every night witness the plight of refugees struggling to say alive while they exist in a living hell. More comfortable nations, including our own, turn them away.

Tired and poor mothers yearning to breathe free came to our shores and gave birth to children, some of whom are disabled. In Ohio, two mothers of disabled children have been torn away from their children and sent back to the teeming shores from whence they came … shores that neither welcomes or wants them.

Do we feel it?

I’m sure as you read this, you can think of examples of your own. Fill in the blanks.

Do we feel it?

An example from my personal life: Disabled people are not seen as contributors to our economy and so they are disposable. If you don’t believe it, try to obtain services. In 2010 as a result of the economic crisis in our country brought on be deregulation and excessive risk-taking by banks, a federally-mandated program in Ohio responsible for advocating for and protecting the disabled transitioned from a state agency to a non-profit. In 2012, while seeking services to help my disabled daughter continue to live independently, I was told by an attorney working for this program, “Two years ago resources existed to help. Today there are none … unless she is homeless.” The attorney recommended I allow my daughter to become homeless.

Do we feel it?

Typically, applications for social security disability are denied at least three times. I personally know of three families with a child suffering from myotonic muscular dystrophy, a debilitating progressive neuromuscular disease, who have been denied disability numerous times.

Do we feel it?

According to the Houston Behavior Health Hospital, the three main causes of stress today — money, work, and poor health — are interrelated. A poor economy puts the highest pressure on those earning less than $50,000 (although people in all income brackets are feeling the strain). High unemployment rates, rising costs of food, gas, and other necessities, and the need to work long hours are all detrimental to inner peace, which can cause negative physical symptoms like a greater susceptibility to illness, a lack of energy, problems with sleep, headaches, poor judgment, weight gain, depression, anxiety, and an inability to maintain healthy relationships with family and friends.

The poor are accused of being lazy and unambitious.

Do we feel it?

According to Page 4 of a June 2015 report by the International Monetary Fund: “Widening income inequality is the defining challenge of our time. In advanced economies, the gap between the rich and poor is at the highest level in decades.”

Does the system keep us too stressed out to feel it? Are we losing our ability to feel it?

Does each life count?

Your life? My life?

Do we feel it?

Is each life significant?

Teachers? Students? Parents? People of Color? Immigrants? Refugees? The Disabled? Nurses? Soldiers? Police Officers? Fire Fighters? War Correspondents? The Unemployed? The Underemployed? The Marginalized?

Are we losing our souls? Is our nation losing its soul?

Do we feel it?


  • Diana

    Linda, it is obvious that YOU feel it and your writing and activism calls everyone you touch to feel it. Our very survival insists a number of us feel it and we can’t look away. Your writing expresses a rational passion that cuts across political lines and your words have the power to soften fearful hearts and closed minds. KEEP UP THE FANTASTIC WORK!!!!!

    • Thank you, Diana,
      In the face of so much pain in the world, I am still feeling my way as to how to use my writing to address it. I appreciate your feedback because I know you gave it thoughtful consideration. I’m glad to hear that what I wrote cuts across political lines and has the power to soften fearful hearts and closed minds. I hope that is true. Then posting it is worthwhile.

  • Thank you for adding your voice to Steve Inskeep’s and to all of us who are sick at heart for what our country is becoming/has become. Let us not keep silent, for if we do, we are lost.

    I’ve missed your voice. Glad you are back!

    • Thanks, Mary Jo,
      Good to be back. I’m still trying to discern how to use my writing for the good of our country. I know I don’t want to spread the negativity that is so prevalent. Still feeling my way. This particular essay was a stretch for me. I don’t usually write in this way but Len challenged me to give it a try. Turned out to receive more enthusiastic responses from the class than my others. Go figure.

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